Kataoka Nizaemon (XIII) (片岡仁左衛門 (13代目))
Jusandai-me (the thirteenth) Nizaemon KATAOKA (male, December 15, 1903 to March 26, 1994) was a kabuki actor. His real name was Chiyonosuke KATAOKA.
He was one of the excellent actors acting as man, who supported the kabuki society in the late Showa period. He was completely blind in the last decade of his life, but he continued his activity on the stage as lead actor.
His children include: Gafu KATAOKA (V); Suzu HANAYAGI, a performer of Japanese dance; Hidetaro KATAOKA (II); Nizaemon KATAOKA (XV); and Shizuka KATAOKA, an actress of shingeki (new dramas influenced by Western stage plays).
His wife and the wife of Jukei HANAYAGI, the second head of the HANAYAGI School of Japanese dance, who changed his name from Jusuke HANAYAGI II, are sisters (KATAOKA's wife is younger). His own daughter learned Japanese dance from Jukei and calls herself 'Suzu HANAYAGI,' which is the name of an accredited master. Jukei played the role of the go-between for his third son, Nizaemon XV. The father of Jukei (Jusuke HANAYAGI I) and Jukei were once kabuki actors. Jukei learned kabuki from the sixth and appeared in many movies by the name Kikutaro ONOE, in addition to performing on kabuki stages.
He had founded his own company, 'Kikutaro Productions.'
Jukei is the father of Jusuke HANAYAGI III.
Though he is legally a child of Nizaemon XI, his real father is Zenzaburo YASUDA. YASUDA is an uncle of Yoko ONO. He had no financial problems (at least until the dissolution of financial groups in Japan), because the money of the YASUDA financial group always flowed in to him. This fact had a strong influence on his acting style. He had a steady mind and performed with the greatest excellence when playing a noble man. He was famous for his work in the role of Yuranosuke (one of the core characters of Chushingura, a famous kabuki play), in the seventh episode of Chushingura, and his portrayal of going on an extravagant spree was totally natural; it even brought forth the opinion that such natural acting was because he usually went on extravagant sprees at his own expense. He wasn't fussy in his life off the stage; he neither displayed any distasteful characteristics, nor did he ever fawn over others.
Widely known as a railroad fanatic, he was so adored by railroad-related people and fanatics that he was often invited as a guest at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies of commemorative events such as the debuts of new-model cars and the launches of railroad companies' new lines.
Brief Personal History
The Tokyo-kabuki period
He was born in Tokyo in 1903. He was adopted by Nizaemon KATAOKA XI, who had moved his base to Tokyo, and he became Nizaemon's third son. In 1905, he acted for the first time in his life in the Minami-za theater of Kyoto. He called himself Chiyonosuke KATAOKA, which was his real name. After 1912, he played an important role in Kataoka-Shonen-geki (boys' theatricals) (chinko-shibai).
In 1924, he succeeded to the stage name Gafu KATAOKA and became the fourth to do so in Kabuki-za theater. At around that time, he acted mainly in Tokyo and started studying under Chusha ICHIKAWA VII, who had inherited the acting style of Danjuro ICHIKAWA IX, etc. In 1932, he founded Seinen-kabuki (youth kabuki troupe) in Shinjuku Daiichi Gekijo (currently the Shinjuku branch of Otsuka Furniture Store) of Shochiku, and he led the troupe (as kakidashi, a young actor gaining popularity who appears first on the actors' name board) along with Shiuka BANDO (Kanya MORITA XIV) and tome (the core actor appearing last on the actors' name board) Gafu KATAOKA IV (Chiyonosuke). His activity in Seinen-kabuki continued for seven years.
The Kansai-kabuki period
In 1939, he moved to Kansai kabuki. In 1951, he succeeded to the stage name Nizaemon KATAOKA after his late father, but with the dawn of the '60s Kansai kabuki started a significant decline and he couldn't act as he wanted. He launched a group of self-promoting plays 'Shichinin-no-kai' (a group of seven persons) together with Ganjiro NAKAMURA II and Enjaku MINOKAWA II, but ultimately the group failed. Being worried about the state of Kamigata (Kansai region) kabuki, Nizaemon made up his mind to protect the presence of the tradition and daringly held self-promoted performances five times in and after 1962; he called them 'Nizaemon Kabuki' and funded them himself. The influence on Kansai kabuki was significant.
However, he made efforts to develop human resources including holding kabuki classes for high-school students and instructing young actors and actresses by leading 'wakaayu-no-kai (group of young sweetfish).'
In 1966, Nizaemon's portrayal of Izaemon in "Kuruwa-Bunsho" (Yoshida-ya) at the Kabuki-za theater received a high reputation from play lovers, and Nizaemon's acting, which until then had been called merely reliable despite its unique characteristics, started to vary. Surprisingly, the acting of Nizaemon was remarkably sophisticated from his late seventies to his eighties, and suddenly he was added to the list of excellent actors. Many people still admire the acting of his last days, which was very graceful and conveyed a great sense of taste.
In 1972, he was designated as an important intangible cultural asset and received the Japan Art Academy Prize. In 1981, his portrayal of Kanshoso in "Sugawara-denju-tenarai-kagami" at the National Theater earned a reputation for being "godlike." The acting was so adored that a shout of 'Matsushima-ya-tenjin!' came up from the gallery. At this time his eyesight was gradually weakening due to glaucoma and he lost his eyesight in his last days, but he continued to act on the stage until the last day of his life. His final role was that of Masakiyo SATO in "Hachijinnokami-mamorijiro, Gozabune-no-dan," which he performed in an all-cast performance series at Minami-za in Kyoto in December 1993; he died in Kyoto on March 26, 1994.
When he was young, he learned the forms of kabuki and kyogen from excellent actors such as Koshiro MATSUMOTO VII, Chusha ICHIKAWA VII, Hazaemon ICHIMURA XV and Enjaku MINOKAWA II in addition to his father; this was an important asset not only for Nizaemon (XIII) but also for kabuki society as a whole. According to his third son, Nizaemon XV and that son's grandchild, Kotaro KATAOKA, Nizaemon XIII demonstrated various forms by which to teach them one kyogen story and then let each of them choose.
Prior to World War II he became known as a railroad fanatic; he acted as a director and honorary chairman of Tetsudo-tomo-no-kai (Railroad Fanatics' Association) and often attended railroad-related ceremonies held in the Kansai region, such as the presentation ceremonies of Blue Ribbon Ward (railroad) and the Osaka City Railroad's final day of operation.
However, he was critical of the ultra-high-speed trains such as the shinkansen (a.k.a., the bullet train), lamenting that 'after the shinkansen was completed, the elegance of travel was lost.'
His presence as a railroad fanatic in the classical entertainment society was equal to that of Eiji KINEYA among the nagauta society.
He was also an excellent writer whose representative books include 'SUGAWARA to Chushingura (SUGAWARA and Chushingura),' 'Natsu-matsuri to Ise-ondo (summer festivals and Ise-ondo song),' 'Touzai-touzai (ladies and gentlemen, welcome),' 'Nizaemon KATAOKA XI,' 'Saga-dango (episodes of the Saga area),' 'Nizaemon-rakugaki (Nizaemon's graffiti),' 'Shibai-tan (episodes of stage acting)' and 'Wasurerareteiru-senzo-no-kuyo (forgotten memorial services for the ancestors).'
Particularly, he left speeches on acting and important kabuki-related references.
The character Nizaemon always made a hit with
Kanjoso, Matsuo, Genzo and Tokihei, of "SUGAWARA"
Yuranosuke, Hangan, Honzo of "Chushingura"
Kumagai, of "Kumagai-jinya,' and Izaemon, of "Kuruwa-bunsho"
Danshichi and Sanpu, of "Natsu-matsuri"
Mitsugu FUKUOKA, of "Ise-ondo"
Chubei and Magoemon, of "Niiguchi-mura"
Heisaku, of "Numazu"